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Around The Country: Elections Updates From Six Counties – November 23, 2020

 

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Margibi County: Four Senatorial Appear in First Townhall Debate   


L-R: Former House Speaker J. Emmanuel Nuquay, Representative Ivar Jones, Independent Candidates Alexander Bango Collins and Gabriel Bedell, Jr. sitting on the podium of the BWI Auditorium in Kakata, Saturday, November 21 | Photo By: Alpha Daffae Senkpeni


Four out of the seven candidates vying for the senatorial seat of Margibi County have participated in a crunched debate in Kakata with the contestants outlining their plans for the county if elected to the Liberian Senate.

Independent Candidates Gabriel Bedell and Alexander Bongo Collins were joined by Representative Ivar Jones of the Coalition for Democratic Change and Emmanuel Nuquay of the People’s Unification Party in the hall of the Booker Washington Institute (BWI).

Incumbent senator Oscar Cooper, Rep. Ben Fofana and the only female candidate, Princess S. McCauley were absent due to individual excuses.

During the debate, Mr. Bedell told the audience that included people listening via radio, that his priorities are “tackling mass hunger, mass poverty, poor health care, the weak education system, and the huge unemployment rate”, amongst others while Mr. Collins, who described himself as a “rubber tapper son”, stressed that “reconciliation, security, education and youth empowerment” will be high on his agenda when he is elected.



Nuquay (left) was asked several questions by his opponents including Rep. Jones (Right) during the one hour debate | Photo By: Alpha Daffae Senkpeni


On the other hand, former House Speaker Nuquay, who on several occasions came face-to-face with Rep. Jones during the Q&A session of the debate, said “roads, health, reconciliation, and dignity of labor” are on top of his agenda.

For Rep. Jones, a well-known entrepreneur-cum-politician, mentioned “human resource development, sustainable economic development, agriculture, health care and infrastructure development” as his top priorities when he becomes the next senator.

The four candidates also gave their views on trending county and national issues including the waiver of portion of the county’s social development funds to China Union, loss of jobs at Firestone plantation, funding for health sector, agriculture, and dual citizenship, amongst others.

The debate, which was organized by the Liberia Media for Development Initiatives with funding from USAID through Internews, also allowed the four candidates to cross-examine each other with some asking probing questions about their rivals’ past record in governance and contributions to the county.


Bong County: Three Senatorial Candidates Participate in Townhall Debate


The debate in Totota attracted scores of people although just three of the eight candidates were present | Photo By: Emmanuel Mafaleh


The Liberia Media Development (LMD) program and partner Liberia Media for Democratic Initiatives (LMDI) with support from USAID through Internews Liberia on Sunday November 22 held its first Bong senatorial election debate in Totota.

Three of the eight candidates vying for the senatorial seat attended the debate. They were Dorothy K. Toomann, Independent candidate, Dr. Mogana Flomo, Independent candidate, and incumbent Senator Henry W. Yallah of the Coalition for Democratic Change.

The debate, according to the Deputy Chief of Party of Internews Liberia Media Development Program (LMD), Jefferson Togbah Massah is meant to give candidates the opportunity to sell their respective platform, vision, and aspirations to the voters.

In accordance with the principles of democracy, Mr. Massah said the legislature is the people’s representative and as such they are to be accountable to the people.

In her introductory speech, Madam Toomann promised to unite the county legislative caucus, lead a team to reconcile the caucus and be the voice of women in the Liberian senate when she is elected.

For Dr. Mogana Flomo, he said agriculture will be his tool to fight corruption and bad governance in county.

For his part, the incumbent Sen. Yallah said he wants to be re-elected to complete the many development projects he started and is aiming for the establishment of a new county – the Bong Range County.

The second phase of the debate is slated for this Sunday November 29 in Gbarnga where all eight candidates are expected to be present.


Grand Gedeh County: Rural Women Organization Aims for More Female Senators


Madam Jesadeh Barzon, president of rural women Grand Gedeh County, says if more women are elected to the Legislature, “they will work in the interest of vulnerable women and children”.

She added that women and children are mostly victimized because they have no one to speak on their behalf at the Legislature, adding that even though there are more laws passed by the legislature to protect the rights of women and children they are not fully supported by the male-dominated Legislature.

Speaking to LocalVoicesLiberia, Madam Barzon said if all women and girls who have reached voting age vote a lady who is contesting in all counties, there will be a positive result for these female candidates.

Although she didn’t mention a particular female candidate in the county, she however called on all women and girls to “vote a female for history making and to reduce every form of violence [against women and girls] in the county”.

Grand Gedeh County has two women contesting on separate tickets. It is the first-time female candidates are competing for a seat at the Legislature in the county. The two are Madam Felicia F.D. Duncan of the CPP and Madam Beatrice Sarpe Johnson, an independent candidate.

The two candidates have joined seven males to contest the pending December 8 election.


Gbarpolu County: Local Police Request Candidates’ Campaign Schedule


Inspector Dixon is confident that the early release of campaign activities schedule will limit any mix-up among the candidates | Photo By: Henry B. Gboluma, Jr.


Mr. Varmah Dixon, Assistant Police Inspector of Gbarpolu County, has urged the nine senatorial candidates to furnish the police with their respective campaign schedules.

Inspector Dixon believes that the political campaign schedules will enhance both the work of the joint security and partners of the National Elections Commission.

“The early we get your schedule through the Bopolu NEC office, the better we will adjust our operations plan to suit this electoral period. Please help us to help you because we are supposed to be at each major campaign event in this county,’ he said at a Joint Security meeting on November 21 in Bopolu City.

He also pointed out that the candidates campaign plan will also help NEC and other groups that will be observing the election in the county.

Recently, the NEC county office encouraged political parties to speed up the submission of their campaign schedules.

The Assistant elections Magistrate of Gbarpolu County Willie Sumo told LocalVoicesLiberia that out of the nine candidates in the county only three have submitted campaign schedules.


Lofa County: Brownie Samukai Supporters Say Inclusion on Candidate Listing Is ‘Sign Of Victory’


Mr. Biaty, National Coordinator for the Friends of Samukai (FOS), is confident that the former Defense Minister will triumph in the December 8 poll | Photo By: Gbotolu Mawolo


Following the release of the list of qualified candidates by the National Elections Commission, which bow includes the name of Brownie J. Samukai, supporters of the former Defense Minister claim that his presence on the ballot is a “sign of victory.

Mr. Abass Mark Biaty, National Coordinator for the Friends of Samukai (FOS), said  “the opposition fight against the candidacy of our political leader has finally failed and they are left with no message again to preach against him.”

“They first said that Hon. Samukai will not register with NEC, they were disappointed. They also said that his name would not surface on NEC provisional list of qualified candidates, they were also defeated. And finally, to their uttermost amazement, he is now on the ballot as [a] qualified candidate for the Lofa County Senatorial race,” Biaty told reporters in Voinjama recently.

On 23 April this year, Mr. Samukai and two other former officials of the Defense Ministry were convicted by Criminal Court “C” for crimes of misuse of public money, theft of property and criminal conspiracy. They then took an appeal to the Supreme Court.

While an appeal on this matter is still before the Supreme Court, some If his critics argued that Mr. Samukai has no legal right to contest for Senatorial seat.

The National Elections Commission received series of complaints requesting that Samukai be denied, but the Commission would quash the complaints and cleared the former Defense Minister to contest.


Grand Cape Mount County: NEC Hold Regional Workshop for Senatorial Candidates’ Agents


Representatives of candidates expected to contest senatorial elections in Bomi, Grand Cape Mount and Gbarpolu Counties are atending the two-day session in Tubmanburg | Photo By: Jenneh Kamoikai


The National Elections Commission with support from the UNDP is conducting a two-day session to train candidate’s observers ahead of the December 8 poll.

Fifty participants are attending the workshop in Tubmanburg which is expected to end on Tuesday, November 24. Representatives of the Coalition for Democratic Change, the Collaborating Political Parties and independent candidates were selected from Grand Cape Mount, Bomi and Gbrapolu Counties.

Commissioner Boakai A. Dukuly, NEC Chairman for Political Affairs, said the training will help political party agents become familiar with election day activities including understanding polling and counting procedures.

He said the participants will also be taught the procedural for filing complaints on election day in order to minimize the risk of election violence.

On the first day, participants thanked the NEC and its partner for training party representatives, while stressing the importance of a violence-free election.

“The peace we are enjoying depends on all of us and if we must maintain this peace it means that we as political parties, independent candidates, and party agents must report the right thing on election day and not the wrong one that will bring violence,” said Mr. Sando Swaray, a representative of an independent who spoke on behalf of the participants.


This content sharing initiative is supported by Internews under the Liberia Media Development program, with funding from USAID-Liberia. However, these contents are gathered and published independently by Local Voices Liberia, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funder.


 

Local Voices Liberia is a network of dedicated Liberian journalists based in the 15 counties working to lift the development concerns and progress of rural communities.

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